September 15, 2009

Who Taught Them to Behave Like That?

Congressman Joe Wilson.
Kanye West.
Serena Williams.
The Boy.

What do these people have in common?

Bad manners. Rudeness. Total disregard for common courtesy.

Let's start with Congressman Wilson. He's a member of our Congress, for goodness' sakes! He should be above yelling "You lie!" while the President is giving a speech. And this isn't a First Amendment issue; it's common courtesy. If someone says something you disagree with, or think they are being untruthful about, you don't have to call them on the carpet in public. On television. In front of cameras and reporters.

I'm all for healthy debate...this wasn't it.

I'm sure the folks in South Carolina are just so very proud of him. Just like they are of their philandering governor, Mark Sanford.

Now to Kanye West. He's not one who is known for good behavior - he just is a treasure trove of social faux pas and misstatements. In fact, this Web site has a list of five other blunders made by Mr. West over the past couple of years.

Here's number six:
When the young lovely Taylor Swift was accepting her Video Music Award for Best Female video, Mr. West came on stage and grabbed the mic from Ms. Swift and went on a rant about Beyonce's video, "Single Ladies", being "one of the best videos of all time" - during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. The poor country singer gal was shocked and unable to finish her speech (as the audience booed for Mr. West).

Serena Williams, shame on you! Tennis star that you are, don't you know that children look up to you, and try to emulate you? Well, I hope they don't repeat the threats and bad language you used towards the line judge at your last match!

Here's what The Huffington Post said she said:
"If I could, I would take this ... ball and shove it down your ... throat" (ellipsis - you know, the three periods in a row - represent the expletives that have been deleted). If you want to read her tirade in its entirety, click here.

For her outburst, she received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and her opponent received a point (and won the match).

Now we come to The Boy, His Royal Surliness. He has had an attitude problem of late - he is demanding, condescending, insulting and just plain ticked off a lot of the time. He tells me that ALL teenagers are angry like he is - I think he expects me to just get over it. Not likely.

He is highly insulted if he is asked to help around the house; all tasks are beneath him. How dare I wake him up/remind him to do homework/ask him to pick up his own stuff!

Here are some of the verbal gems that come out of that mouth of his:

"Get in that kitchen and get cookin', woman!"
"Get me a Coke NOW!"
"Am I your slave?" (As a matter of fact, yes, he is).
To our granddaughter (and his niece): "Just admit it - I'm better than you."
"I don't have to listen to you!" (Actually, again, he's wrong...he DOES have to listen to the adults who are in charge).
Then there's the kneejerk reaction of "NO!" anytime he is asked to do ANYTHING...even if it's something he might enjoy doing.

The Boy has not learned these things in our home. The Mister and I do NOT speak to each other, nor to him, in that way (but it's SO tempting when he's giving that lip to me). And in public? I get comments all the time about how polite The Boy is (omg, have I raised Eddie Haskell?).

Why do I think this rudeness is running rampant? IMNSHO (In My Not So Humble Opinion):

We've raised a generation (or two) of children who got everything their little hearts desired. Did this make them grateful creatures? Nope, it turned them into tyrants suffering from Me-me-me syndrome. Everything is unfair (if it isn't going their way); life sucks if they don't get what they want, when they want it. They have little regard for anyone's feelings but their own.

Because we've catered to their every whim, they have not yet had to suffer, not one bit. They are used to (and expect) instant gratification. As children, they are rewarded to just showing up (not for excellence, just for being there).

The prevalence of two working parents in a family (or single parent families) means that each parent feels they aren't spending enough time with their little ones. Motivated by guilt, we parents coddle and hover and spend ourselves into the poorhouse just to make the kids "happy".

I for one, used to buy The Boy things to keep him QUIET - as a single parent of the bipolar, autistic kid, a shopping trip was a whole lot easier if I 'greased the wheel' (so to speak) with a new geegaw or snack, rather than risk a very loud and public meltdown in the store. My bad.

Since we've been part of the Cleaver household, The Boy is no longer rewarded for bad behavior; in fact, he's rarely rewarded at all. It seems he's most often losing privileges rather than gaining possessions nowadays. The regime change has been good for him, and much less taxing on my wallet.

I sure don't want us to return to the days of "children should be seen and not heard", but I believe the pendulum on behavior has swung too far in the other direction. I hope we can return to a place where common decency and common sense (which isn't all that common), as well as common courtesy are the rule, rather than the exception.

And this video shows what my response will be to the next person who forgets his/her manners around me.

And look! picked the same three characters in their damn, I'm trendy!


  1. I think you're right about it all!

    Kids now a day get everything handed to them. My 16 yr old brother thinks everything he has he deserves, yet he's earned none of it. He does badly in school & my parents buy him $80 shoes. He skips school & they still pay his cell phone bill. And when he does help around the house it's only with things he ‘chooses’ to do. My other brother & I werent' handed things like he is. We had to earn them. I wonder if it’s just that parents tend to give up with the youngest...whatever it is disrespect is all you get in the long run.

    Hope his attitude gets better.

  2. I am a liberal Democrat and, yes, I think that Joe Wilson showed an utter lack of decorum and was absolutely wrong. However, turning this event into a race issue and invoking sanctions is beyong troubling and just as wrong, wouldn't you say? I think anytime the race card is played (and it's been played quite a bit during the last 9 months)things do not bode well. It deeply troubles me that the race card is being invoked every time someone disagrees with our biracial president just as it troubles me that there are those who insist on calling President Obama our first black president when, in fact, he is our first biracial president. Furthermore, was Obama right when he stepped into the Gates incident? Was that a lack of decorum on his part by inflaming a situation he admittedly knew nothing about? I think we all need to use some common sense lest we run the risk of polarization.

  3. I agree ... kids today do need to learn a bit more discipline. I walk a fine line with this myself ... I don't want to raise a spoiled brat but I want to "do right" by him. Finding the balance can be hard.

  4. So well stated and so very, very true. I have a blog in the works for later this week on a similar topic and my dismay over raising a generation of disrespectful children. It gets right under my skin. I genuinely hope things look up for y'all soon. Hang in there!


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